Parliament Green

Parliament Square

'To enter the House of Commons is not merely to enter a political institution, it is coming across a new world, complex, hazardous, inconstant, demanding and perpetually facinating. The pride and pleasure never faded the twenty years I sat in the Commons.'
from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

The Houses of Parliament and Palace of Westminster

The Houses of Parliament played a very big part in Maxwell Fyfe's life. As he says himself that 'to get there was the dearest ambition of his life.' He was first elected as MP for West Derby in 1935 and went on to sit in the Commons for 20 years. Later on in his career, he was made Lord Chancellor and spent time in the House of Lords so saw the building and institution from two sides. He said 'From the outset, the House of Commons entranced me; I was proud to be even a humble back-bencher,

and was enchanted with my good fortune.' Most of the information he relates in The Political Adventure is about what happens politically in the Commons, not description of the building and surrounds.

However we visited the Palace of Westminster on a tour in 2011 and discovered for ourselves what an extraordinary place it is. The buildings are imposing but undeniably recognisable especially the Queen Elizabeth tower that houses Big Ben. The buildings are run in a very particular way with many rules and regulations. But when you see it in action you feel proud to be British and Maxwell Fyfe felt the same when he said 'I cannot adequately express my pride and happiness when I first entered the Palace of Westminster as of right a Member of Parliament. To get there had been the dearest ambition of my life...and I was not disappointed.'

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Click on a small image to enlarge

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